Over the summer, one of my favourite sights was an ancient ruin jutting out into the sea at Kinbane Head on the North Antrim coast. The views were breathtaking as the summer heat painted the most beautiful scene; aqua sea, white waves, caves and coves. I was mesmerised, and didn’t want to move away from this hidden beauty spot. Gazing on the beauty of creation fills us with awe and reminds us of how great God is. Gazing on the beauty of the Lord and his Word also fills us with awe as we understand more of who he truly is.
However, if we are honest, we often fall into the rut of seeking everything else but the beauty of the Lord. It’s so easy to fix our gaze on our worries, our bank accounts, our houses, our holidays, our jobs, ourselves. When we come to God in prayer, are we consistently longing and asking to see and spread the beauty of God? Can we say, as David did, “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the lord and to seek him in his temple” (Psalm 27:4)? Or are we so preoccupied with what we need him to do for us that we miss being awed by his glory?
If we can say that David’s one thing is our one thing, then perhaps our gaze would become fixed again on the One who sees us. His glory in and through us will be beautiful, and we will want to see his beauty more than anything else we ask for. Let’s ask him again. Like David, let’s ask God one thing, for only one thing - to “live with him in his house my whole life long, to contemplate his beauty and study at his feet” (Psalm 27:4 - The Message).
As we begin a new church season, women throughout our congregations will be getting together to think about what authentic beauty looks like as they focus on the new PW theme, Beautiful. We are excited about all that God has in store for us as we study his Word together.
We are also looking forward to focusing our thoughts, prayers and practical support on our two Special Projects as ways of spreading the beauty of the Lord to those at home and overseas. Through Presbyterian Women’s Mission Fund, the Home Special Project for 2018/19 will support the work of Trinity House in Garvagh, the newest residential care home in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland family.
With the increase in the numbers of people with a diagnosis of dementia, there is a need for all of us to have a greater awareness of the illness. The Alzheimer’s Society states that 1 in 14 people over the age of 65 and 1 in 6 people over 80 has dementia. Presbyterian Women’s funding will go towards the training and development of staff skills and knowledge to a higher level within the specialist dementia unit. Funding will also help to set up and develop a vintage café/caravan in the garden of Trinity House, where family members and staff will be able to spend valuable time with the residents in a stimulating environment.
The 2018/19 Overseas Special Project will support the work of International Justice Mission, a global organisation that protects the poor from violence in the developing world. IJM is a team of a thousand lawyers, investigators, social workers, community activists and professionals who work in 17 field offices and 6 partner offices to combat slavery, property theft, sex and cybersex trafficking, sexual violence, police brutality and citizens’ rights’ abuse. Women throughout our congregations will be supporting IJM as they strive to address the issue of cybersex trafficking - a new and devastating form of slavery and a rapidly growing problem as internet access increases everywhere.
We want to encourage women across PCI’s congregations to get involved in what’s happening in their group this year. We want to inspire women at whatever stage they are at in life to take time to ask one thing of God, to seek him only and be mesmerised by his glory. It’s our prayer that God’s beauty will be displayed in their lives and in the lives of those with whom they seek to share the beauty of Jesus.
Pauline Kennedy is PCI’s Women’s Ministry and PW Development Officer. She is responsible for supporting the ministry of Presbyterian Women, as well as assisting in the development of strategy and coordination of women’s ministry in general.
More information on the PW special projects can be found on the PW Special Projects page.